Al Riveron, the NFL's senior vice president of officiating, admitted the referee crew made a mistake near the end of the first half in the New Orleans Saints' 30-28 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.
At issue was a 10-second runoff following a replay review that determined Michael Thomas got a first down on a 3rd-and-17. Riveron told The Athletic's Larry Holder the officials should have started the runoff from the time Thomas was ruled down instead of from when the review started:
The time snafu was ultimately inconsequential toward the outcome.
New Orleans could have used the extra time to set up a better field-goal attempt for Wil Lutz. He missed from 56 yards to end the half. Lutz was good from 58 yards as time expired in the game, though, to deliver the victory.
But emotions toward referees remain raw in the Big Easy after last year's NFC Championship Game. The officials missed an obvious pass interference call on Nickell Robey-Coleman in the fourth quarter. In response, team owners opened the door for pass interference to be subject to replay reviews.
Numerous Saints fans dressed as referees for Monday's game to show they still hadn't forgotten:
While New Orleans will probably take some satisfaction from the fact that Riveron quickly acknowledged the mistake, the team would likely prefer avoiding officiating controversies altogether.